Pastor asked us in Bible class, “Which is easier for you—forgiving other people or forgiving yourself?” I held back this time and was surprised that nearly everyone said they had more trouble forgiving themselves. Apparently, those humble people found it easier to give others a pass but struggle with letting themselves off the hook for mistakes or problems in relationships. I felt embarrassed. I was the only one who admitted to holding grudges. It’s not that I don’t regret things I have done. I do. It’s just that I still grit my teeth over things people have done to me.
Grudges are stubborn things because they are necessary in the autobiographies of people who see themselves as innocent victims. We settle in to that narrative. I can readily defend my resentments over the injustices I have suffered at the hands of others, but God won’t have it. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).
So, to all the people out there who said things about me that weren’t true, broke promises I believed, cheated me out of money, or hurt my feelings, I still think about you now and then. It would seem condescending if I just announced into the ether, “That’s okay. I forgive you.” But I’m working on it because God will not have it any other way. And he is the Lord.